Authored by: John Nauright

Routledge Handbook of Global Sport

Print publication date:  January  2020
Online publication date:  January  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138887237
eBook ISBN: 9781315714264
Adobe ISBN:


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Netball is a sport invented to provide physical activity for girls and young women during winter months. Traditional British sports, such as football and rugby, were considered too physically demanding for girls and women. This rigid social restriction prevented generations of women from participating widely in other sports, leaving netball as a sporting space, albeit a marginalised one, for female athletes. The sport was adapted from basketball, which was invented in the USA by Canadian James Naismith in 1891. Initial rules for basketball and netball emerged in the 1890s with the first netball specific rules appearing in England in 1901. The sport quickly made its way from England across the British Empire where it quickly took hold after the first matches in Australia in 1897 and New Zealand 1902 as an outdoor game. Netball thrived in the Commonwealth nations. Shared language, history, culture, and values helped promote netball.

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